High School: Lake Zurich

Bolingbrook finishes atop prep rankings

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
8:32
PM CT
After topping previous No. 1 Loyola in the 8A title game, the Bolingbrook Raiders finish as the area's top-rated team in the final ESPNChicago.com top-20 prep poll. They are followed in the top five by No. 2 Loyola, No. 3 Montini, No. 4 Wheaton Warrenville South and No. 5 Prairie Ridge.

Complete rankings.

IHSA semifinal preview capsules

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
12:36
AM CT

Here's a look at this week’s area playoff action.

No. 12 Glenbard North (9-3) at No. 1 Loyola (12-0)

Loyola Glenbard NorthWhen: Saturday at 12 p.m.
The story: It’s Loyola’s Class 8A state championship to lose at this point. The Ramblers have proven throughout this season that they’re the state’s top team. Their offense and defense have clicked in unison throughout the playoffs and haven’t been tested yet. Glenbard North has upset team after team in the playoffs. The Panthers have knocked off higher seeds behind the play of their two consistent running backs, Justin and Phillip Jackson. Scoring against Loyola won’t be easy. The Ramblers haven’t allowed more than 13 points since Week 2.
Glenbard North player to watch: Alex Mendez had one of the Panthers’ three interceptions last week.
Loyola player to watch: Defensive end Eric Hauser has been among the area’s best this season.
Prediction: Loyola 28, Glenbard North 17

No. 2 Bolingbrook (11-1) at No. 12 Naperville Central (9-3)

Naperville Central Bolingbrook
When: Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Naperville Central didn’t draw a lot of attention to itself during the regular season, but it wasn’t far off from being one of the area’s top teams if you go back and look at its results. It lost by 14 points to Waubonsie Valley to start the season and had narrow losses to Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South. The Redhawks’ offense has been remarkable throughout the last three weeks. They have scored 40 or more points in every game. Bolingbrook has continued to be impressive on both sides of the ball. The Raiders have been jumping on opponents early and not giving them a chance.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Austin Van Meter compliments Florida recruit Antonio Morrison in Bolingbrook’s linebacker group.
Naperville Central player to watch: Defensive lineman Zach Borta was the defensive player of the year in the DuPage Valley Conference.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 27, Naperville Central 21

No. 4 Wheaton Warrenville South (9-3) at No. 3 St. Rita (10-2)

St. Rita Wheaton Warrenville South
When: Saturday at 6 p.m.
The story: This is a rematch of a 2009 Class 7A quarterfinal game. Wheaton Warrenville South pulled out on a 23-14 win at St. Rita in that contest. This is expected to be another defensive slugfest with even maybe less scoring. Both teams have relied heavily on their defenses to get them here. Wheaton Warrenville South has out-scored their last two opponents 17-7. St. Rita hasn’t given up more than 14 points in the playoffs.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: Defensive back and kick returner Mike Shelton has been making an impact all over the field.
St. Rita player to watch: Linebacker Will McNamara is one of the team’s defensive leaders.
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 13, St. Rita 10

No. 5 Lake Zurich (10-2) at Rockford Boylan (12-0)

Rockford Boylan Lake ZurichWhen: Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Both these teams played in a state title game last season. Lake Zurich lost to Wheaton Warrenville South in Class 7A. Rockford Boylan defeated Marmion in Class 6A. Lake Zurich’s defense has been the key to its success the past few weeks. It allowed a total of 17 points to Glenbard West and Elk Grove. Rockford Boylan’s offense hasn’t been contained all season. The Titans put up 30 points on Crystal Lake South last week and haven’t scored less than 28 points this season.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Running back Mike Shield came through again in last week’s win.
Rockford Boylan player to watch: Peter Cimino had three interceptions and a fumble recovery in last week’s win.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 17, Rockford Boylan 14

No. 6 Lemont (12-0) at Peoria Richwoods (9-3)

Peoria Richwoods LemontWhen: Saturday at 2 p.m.
The story: Peoria Richwoods started off its season 0-3 and has rallied to win its last nine games. The Knights squeaked out a 20-19 win over Danville last week. Lemont will be favored, but it will have to win on the road. The Indians notched their sixth shutout of the season with last week’s win. No one has come within 18 points of them through 12 games.
Lemont player to watch: Defensive lineman Sebastian Koziel recorded 1.5 sacks in last week’s win.
Peoria Richwoods player to watch: Running back Kendrick Foster rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Lemont 35, Peoria Richwoods 17

No. 9 Prairie Ridge (11-1) at No. 7 Batavia (12-0)

PR
When: Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: This is a game everyone has been waiting for in Class 6A. Batavia and Prairie Ridge have been two of the most dominant teams in the class throughout the season. Batavia has out-scored it opponents 506-124. Prairie Ridge has out-scored teams 520-101. Batavia hasn’t scored less than 31 points this season. Prairie Ridge hasn’t given up more than 22 points in a game. This could be a good one.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Guard Tom Evans has been opening holes for the Wolves’ running backs all season.
Batavia player to watch: Defensive lineman Alex Lyons has had a memorable year.
Prediction: Batavia 28, Prairie Ridge 27

No. 8 Montini (10-2) at No. 13 Kaneland (12-0)

Kaneland MontiniWhen: Saturday at 6 p.m.
The story: These two teams met in the Class 5A semifinals last season, and Montini won 27-14 at Kaneland. Montini will have to win on the road again if it’s going to get a shot at its third consecutive state championship. Montini was dominant on both sides of the ball in last week’s 52-27 win over Marian Central. Quarterback John Rhode has been unstoppable throughout the playoffs and threw five more touchdowns last week. Kaneland has been finding a way to win over the last month. The Knights’ last four games have been decided by six points or less.
Montini player to watch: Defensive back Joe Cione intercepted three passes in last week’s win.
Kaneland player to watch: Sophomore quarterback Drew David will likely need to have a big day for the Knights to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Montini 42, Kaneland 21

Sacred Heart-Griffin (12-0) at No. 10 Joliet Catholic (10-2)

Joliet Catholic Sacred Heart GriffinWhen: Saturday at 2 p.m.
The story: This should be a battle of a great offensive team vs. a great defensive one. Sacred Heart-Griffin has allowed a total of 24 points in the playoffs. The Cyclones haven’t given up more than 15 points in a game since Week 1. On the other hand, Joliet Catholic has scored 145 points in the playoffs. The Hilltoppers have been held to less than 32 points just once this year. Something will have to give in this one.
Sacred Heart-Griffin player to watch: Chris Harris rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Kicker Isaac Grashoff could help decide a close game. He’s been accurate all season.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 34, Sacred Heart-Griffin 28

Tolono Unity (11-1) at Aurora Christian (11-1)

Aurora Christian Tolono UnityWhen: Saturday at 5 p.m.
The story: Aurora Christian appears to be the front-runner in Class 3A. The Eagles have been getting it done offensively throughout the season. They’ve scored less than 34 points just once this season. Quarterback Anthony Maddie, a Western Michigan recruit, and wide receiver Chad Beebe are one of the best combos in the state. They’re good for 100 yards and a few touchdowns almost every week. Tolono Unity has put up its share of points this season as well. The Rockets have scored 40 or more points in eight games.
Tolono Unity player to watch: Michael Lafenhagen ran for 191 yards in last week’s win.
Aurora Christian player to watch: Julian Sosa is one of the team’s leaders on defense.
Prediction: Aurora Christian 42, Tolono Unity 28

Simeon (9-3) vs. Harper (10-2)

Harper SimeonWhen: Saturday at 12 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: Harper and Simeon face off for the Public League championship and the right to represent the Public League in the Prep Bowl. Simeon had a disappointing run in the playoffs, but is making up for it now. The Wolverines did get by Fenger earlier in the week without quarterback Robert Gregory, who was serving a one-game suspension. Harper avenged an early-season loss to Dunbar in the Public League semifinals with a 40-14 win. The Cardinals have seven shutouts this year.
Harper player to watch: Kewane Pipkins threw for two touchdowns and ran for one against Dunbar.
Simeon player to watch: Paris Ratliff scored touchdowns on a fake punt and kickoff return in the Wolverines’ win over Fenger.
Prediction: Simeon 34, Harper 21

Brother Rice (8-4) vs. Mount Carmel (8-4)

Mount Carmel Brother Rice
When: Friday at 6 p.m. at Gately Stadium
The story: Brother Rice and Mount Carmel meet for the second time this season with this game deciding which team represents the Catholic League in the Prep Bowl. Mount Carmel won the first matchup 35-24 at home. Both teams like to keep on the ground and have two of the area’s top running backs.
Brother Rice player to watch: Running back Martez Walker has been among the area’s best this season.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Brandon Greer makes plays at running back and defensive back.
Prediction: Brother Rice 24, Mount Carmel 20

Football quarterfinal round preview

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
9:52
PM CT
Here's a look at this week’s quarterfinal action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

Lyons (7-4) at No. 1 Loyola (11-0)

Loyola Lyons
When:Noon Saturday
The story: On paper, Loyola should run away with this one. But after last week’s round of upsets, it’s easy to realize that there are no guarantees in the playoffs. The Ramblers haven’t been tested yet through two rounds. They outscored their first two opponents 64-0. Lyons has had some close calls, defeating Bartlett by three points in the opening round and then knocked off Glenbrook South by three points in overtime last week. The Lions’ strength the past three weeks has been putting up points. Their only games of scoring 30 or more points this season came in the last three weeks.
Lyons player to watch: Jaime Jones would have been a great fantasy running back last week. He rushed for five touchdowns on 25 carries.
Loyola player to watch: Wide receiver Peter Pujals is coming off a nine-reception, 181-yard performance against Dunbar.
Prediction: Loyola 31, Lyons 13


No. 12 Downers Grove South (10-1) at No. 2 Bolingbrook (10-1)

Bolingbrook Downers Grove South
When:6 p.m. Saturday
The story: Some of the best football games of the previous four years were Bolingbrook-Downers Grove South matchups. Last season, Bolingbrook won 28-21. In 2009, Bolingbrook won 16-14 in a regular-season matchup, and Downers Grove South won 22-20 in the playoffs. In 2008, Bolingbrook pulled out a 21-20 win. In 2007, Downers Grove South won 10-7. This was the first season their non-conferences meetings ceased, so it’s only fitting they square off in the Class 8A quarterfinals. This could be another classic.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Kaylon Miller is one of the many offensive weapons for the Mustangs.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Offensive lineman Robbie Bain is often responsible for the holes created for Aaron Bailey.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 26, Downers Grove South 24


No. 3 St. Rita (9-2) at O’Fallon (10-1)

When:7 p.m. Friday
The story: St. Rita will be making the long drive to the St. Louis area again. The Mustangs made a similar trip in Week 2 when they went to play an out-of-state opponent in East St. Louis. St. Rita is hoping for a better outcome this time after losing that game. O’Fallon has pulled out a couple close wins this season. It narrowly defeated Pekin 34-31 last week. The Panthers’ offense has scored on a consistent basis. St. Rita’s defense will be looking forward to that challenge.
St. Rita player to watch: Max Kurucar had a key interception in last week’s win over Andrew.
O’Fallon player to watch: Running back Ejay Johnson rushed for six touchdowns in the first round.
Prediction: St. Rita 30, O’Fallon 17


No. 4 Stevenson (9-2) at No. 17 Glenbard North (8-3)

Glenbard North Stevenson
When:3 p.m. Saturday
The story: According to the seeding, Stevenson and Glenbard North should not be playing in the quarterfinals. Glenbard North overcame Barrington and Palatine to get here. Stevenson pulled off the biggest upset of the playoffs with last week’s win over three-time defending Class 8A state champs Maine South. Stevenson has the been king of close games this season. The Patriots have won six games by a touchdown or less. Glenbard North fell on the wrong side of a couple close games during the regular season, but has been finishing strong late in the season.
Stevenson player to watch: Matt Morrissey is among the capable wide receivers for the Patriots.
Glenbard North player to watch: Phil Jackson makes his presence known on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Stevenson 24, Glenbard North 21


No. 5 Wheaton Warrenville South (8-3) at East St. Louis (9-2)


When:Noon Saturday
The story: This is the game everyone had hoped to see last season, but it wasn't to be after East St. Louis was removed from the playoffs due to an ineligible player. Neither team is as talented as it was a year ago, but this should still be an entertaining game. East St. Louis’s defense overwhelmed Oswego with its speed in last week’s win. Its offense also has its share of athletes. Wheaton Warrenville South has been getting by on its defense. The Tigers pulled out a 7-0 win over Lincoln-Way East last week.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: Jack Lipinsky is a threat to get to the quarterback on any play.
East St. Louis player to watch: Natereace Strong is no ordinary freshman running back. He ran for 146 yards and a touchdown against Oswego.
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 17, East St. Louis 13


Elk Grove (10-1) at No. 6 Lake Zurich (10-1)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: Lake Zurich put together a defensive masterpiece against Glenbard West. If the Bears are playing that well, there are few teams who will be able to beat them. Elk Grove has flown around the radar this season without any wins over ranked teams, but all it has been doing is winning. The Grenadiers are riding a nine-game winning streak into this game. They’ve scored 35-plus points in their two playoff games.
Elk Grove player to watch: Fernando Lozana scored three touchdowns in last week’s victory.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Mike Shield scored the lone touchdown in last week’s win over Glenbard West.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 21, Elk Grove 13


Hubbard (9-2) at No. 7 Lemont (11-0)


When:6 p.m. Saturday
The story: Hubbard is the lone Chicago Public League team to reach the quarterfinals in any class. The Greyhounds’ defense has come up big in the playoffs. It hasn’t allowed more than 13 points. Lemont will be a huge test for Hubbard. The Indians haven’t scored less than 35 points since September. Lemont is also one of the state’s premier defensive teams. It has allowed only two teams more than 14 points.
Hubbard player to watch: Quarterback Quincy Skanes ran for 116 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win over Richards.
Lemont player to watch: Kyle Krull is one of the defensive stars for the Indians.
Prediction: Lemont 38, Hubbard 17


No. 8 Batavia (11-0) at Lakes (9-2)

Lakes Batavia
When:5 p.m. Saturday
The story: Batavia again looked like one of the area’s best in last week’s win over Lake Forest. The Bulldogs’ run defense especially emerged in the win. That defense will have another challenge this week against Lakes and its bruising running back Direll Clark, who has been one of the biggest stars of the playoffs. He ran for 200-plus yards in last week’s win over Grant.
Batavia player to watch: Alec Lyons had a sack and two tackles for loss in last week’s win over Lake Forest.
Lakes player to watch: Andre Spencer had seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown last week.
Prediction: Batavia 38, Lakes 24


No. 9 Nazareth (10-1) at No. 15 Prairie Ridge (10-1)

Prairie Ridge Nazareth
When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: This game has a state championship feel. Either team could take this game and go onto the win the Class 6A title. Nazareth was expected to be good this season, but no one could have imaged it would be this good. The Roadrunners ran through the gauntlet of the East Suburban Catholic for the league title and has been nearly perfect in the playoffs. Prairie Ridge went through a similarly difficult schedule in the Fox Valley and has cruised in its two playoff games. Both teams have strong run games and can put up points.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Jordan Getzelman only needed five carries to run for 108 yards and two touchdowns last week.
strong>Nazareth player to watch: Aenas White caught a 56-yard touchdown pass in last week’s win over Cary-Grove.
Prediction: Nazareth 31, Prairie Ridge 21


No. 14 Marian Central (11-0) at No.10 Montini (8-3)

Montini Marian Central
When:2 p.m. Saturday
The story: This is the quarterfinal matchup everyone was waiting for in Class 5A. Marian Central defeated Montini 21-20 when they met in Week 4. The question is whether Marian Central can repeat the feat now that Montini quarterback John Rhode has returned from injury. Rhode missed the first game. He’s thrown 28 touchdowns in his six games back. It’s not as if Marian Central pulled off a fluke win, though. No opponent has come within 15 points of the Hurricanes since their win over Montini.
Marian Central player to watch: Wide receiver Scott Stochal had eight receptions for 147 yards and one touchdown last week.
Montini player to watch: There may not be a better player in the state at any position than wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp.
Prediction: Montini 35, Marian Central 28


Rockford Boylan (11-0) at No. 11 Crystal Lake South (10-1)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: Like Nazareth-Prairie Ridge, this game could have been a state championship game. Boylan and Crystal Lake South have been two of the state’s premier teams all season. Boylan, which won last year’s Class 6A title, has won all of its games by 14 or more points and has held 10 of its opponents to less than 10 points. Crystal Lake South’s defense has been just as spectacular. The Gators have allowed only one opponent more than 14 points this season. This game could come down to inches.
Rockford Boylan player to watch: Defensive lineman Dean Lowry is a Northwestern recruit.
strong>Crystal Lake South player to watch: Reese Dziedzic rushed for 127 yards in last week’s win over Carmel.
Prediction: Crystal Lake South 20, Boylan 14


No. 15 Joliet Catholic (9-2) at Washington (10-1)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: Joliet Catholic had its season ended unexpectedly by Peoria Richwoods in the Class 5A quarterfinals last season. The Hilltoppers are looking to take another step this season. Joliet Catholic defeated Washington 49-7 in the opening round last season. This is an improved Washington team, though. The Panthers have been especially impressive defensively this year.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Running back Ty Isaac added to his memorable season with five touchdowns last week.
strong>Washington player to watch: Dakota Bullard returned the opening kick 87 yards in last week’s win over Rich East.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 38, Washington 24


No. 18 Homewood-Flossmoor (8-3) at No. 19 Naperville Central (8-3)

Naperville Central Homewood-Flossmoor
When:7 p.m. Friday
The story: Homewood-Flossmoor and Naperville Central have been two of the most dominant teams through two rounds of the playoffs. Both teams have scored 40-plus points in both of their wins. Naperville Central’s defense has been more consistent that the Vikings’ defense this season. In Naperville Central’s three losses, it didn’t allow its opponent more than 21 points. In Homewood-Flossmoor’s three losses, it allowed 30-plus points in each game. Homewood-Flossmoor likely has the edge on offense between the two teams.
Homewood-Flossmoor player to watch: Tim Williams has continued to be one of the top quarterbacks in the area.
Naperville Central player to watch: Quarterback Ian Lewandowski ran for two touchdowns and threw for one in last week’s win.
Prediction: Naperville Central 38, Homewood-Flossmoor 28


No. 20 Kaneland (11-0) at Rochelle (8-3)


When:1 p.m. Saturday
The story: The saying “a win is a win” is most apt for the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how you survive, as long you survive. Kaneland and Rochelle are well aware of this. Kaneland got by Belvidere with a 51-45 win the first round and edged St. Francis 31-28 in the second round. Rochelle defeated Urban Prep Charter 43-41 in the first round and Sycamore 21-16 in the second round. The two teams met in the regular season, and Kaneland defeated Rochelle 35-14 in Week 5.
Kaneland player to watch: Cornerback Jacob Razo intercepted his ninth pass of the season last week.
Rochelle player to watch: Quarterback Nick Moore had a 91-yard touchdown run in last week’s win.
Prediction: Kaneland 28, Rochelle 17

Stevenson 24, Lake Zurich 17

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
2:49
AM CT


LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. – The heroes and location had changed from a year ago, but the result was just the same.

For the second consecutive season, Stevenson drove the field in the final minutes to knock off conference rival Lake Zurich. On Thursday, the Patriots went 98 yards on their game-winning drive, and Kevin Foley scored from 3 yards out with 23 seconds remaining to lift his team to a 24-17 win over visiting No. 9 Lake Zurich.

Last season, the Patriots went 80 yards and scored with six seconds left to pull off 24-23 win at Lake Zurich.

“It’s last year all over again,” Lake Zurich senior Jon Way said. “This time it’s our home field, so we get to celebrate with our fans, which is nice. Yeah, it’s just like déjà vu. We put up points, and we come back for that last touchdown.”

The North Suburban Lake match up was a rollercoaster most of the way through.

After a scoreless first quarter, Stevenson (5-2, 3-1) jumped on Lake Zurich (5-2, 4-1) with three consecutive scores to go up 17-0 in the second quarter. Patriots quarterback Matt Micucci connected with Anthony Bozin for a 55-yard touchdown and then Way for a 10-yard score. Micucci added a 41-yard field goal.

Micucci had one of his finest days as Stevenson’s quarterback. He went 18-for-23 passing for 247 yards and two touchdowns. He was the backup last season.

[+] EnlargeStevenson-Lake Zurich
Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.comLake Zurich's Mike Rantis leaps to avoid a tackle against Stevenson on Thursday.
Lake Zurich closed the first half out with a 39-yard field by Mike Leiva and carried that momentum in the third quarter. The Bears stopped Stevenson on two consecutive drives to open the second half and capitalized with back-to-back touchdowns to even the game.

Lake Zurich quarterback Zach Till scored the first touchdown on a 22-yard run, and Mike Shield plunged in for a 1-yard score to tie the game.

From there, the drama only increased.

Following another Lake Zurich stop, the Bears moved the ball again with ease on Stevenson. They got all the way down to its 1-yard line and faced a fourth and goal. Till attempted to carry the ball in over the left corner, but Stevenson linebacker Carl Miller stepped up and halted him from reaching the goal line.

It was Stevenson’s third goal-line stop of the season.

“Our defense has always stepped it up,” Micucci said. “Those guys make big plays at big times.”

Stevenson’s defense was tested twice more. On Lake Zurich’s next drive, it set up a 33-yard field goal attempt. Miller came through again and blocked the field goal off his helmet. Finally after Stevenson’s last score, Dominykas Bickus intercepted Till to seal the win.

“It was two playoff-caliber football teams just battling it out, slugging, punching,” Stevenson coach Bill McNamara said. “It was like 15-round heavyweight boxing match. We had enough in the tank in the end.”

Lake Zurich was left with an empty feeling again.

“We got to play four quarters of football,” Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said. “I don’t think we’ve done that as a football team. Here we are in Week 7, and we still haven’t played four quarters. We need to do something coaching-wise, player-wise to do that or it’s going to be tough for us.”

Till rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. He was 8-of-18 passing for 95 yards.

Week 7 prep football preview capsules

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
11:29
PM CT

Here's a look at the seventh week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

Evanston (4-2) at No. 1 Maine South (6-0)

Maine South Evanston
When:Thursday at 7 p.m.
The story: Maine South’s offense has lived up to its billing this season. The Hawks have put up 40 or more points in five games. Quarterback Matt Alviti and running back Paul Preston are an elite 1-2 punch. Evanston has won four games, but has struggled against top-tier teams. The Wildkits’ losses were to Glenbrook South and Loyola.
Evanston player to watch: Running back Ray Bahr has had some big days this season. He scored three times in the first half against Maine East.
Maine South player to watch: Quarterback Matt Alviti is coming off a five-touchdown game.
Prediction: Maine South 49, Evanston 10

No. 2 Glenbard West (6-0) at Addison Trail (6-0)

Proviso West Glenbard West
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Both Addison Trail and Glenbard West enter their Week 7 matchup undefeated. Glenbard West has proven itself. Addison Trail will look to accomplish that this week. The Blazers have outscored their opponents 172-13, but none of their six previous foes currently has a winning record. A win over Glenbard West -- or even a close game -- would build credibility. Glenbard West quarterback Justice Odom is expected to miss this week after suffering a knee injury last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Running back Kendall Johnson is dangerous rushing or receiving the ball.
Addison Trail player to watch: Defensive back Vince Beltrano had two interceptions in last week’s win.
Prediction: Glenbard West 27, Addison Trail 10

No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (6-0) at Lincoln-Way Central (1-5)

Lincoln-Way Central Lincoln-Way East
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East survived the rough patch of its scheduled, pulling out wins over Bolingbrook, Homewood-Flossmoor and Sandburg. The Griffins should have an easy time closing out the regular season undefeated. Their next three opponents have won a combined three games.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Brian Bayer made a difference last week. He came through on the defensive line and as a short-yardage back.
Lincoln-Way Central player to watch: Brett Ditchman rushed for 201 yards and two touchdowns against Joliet West last week.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 49, Lincoln-Way Central 7

No. 4 Loyola (6-0) at Fenwick (3-3)

Fenwick Loyola Academy
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Loyola took a major step toward winning another Catholic League title with last week’s win over Mount Carmel. The Ramblers’ schedule doesn’t get much easier from here on out. After Fenwick, which does have its strengths, they face Brother Rice and St. Rita. Fenwick has won its last two games. In its other matchup against a Catholic League Blue opponent, Fenwick lost 42-0 to St. Rita.
Loyola player to watch: Connor Person is another one of Loyola’s top receivers. He had a 36-yard touchdown against Mount Carmel.
Fenwick player to watch: Jack Stibitch rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Gordon Tech.
Prediction: Loyola 42, Fenwick 7

No. 5 St. Rita (5-1) at Bishop McNamara (5-1)

Bishop McNamara St. Rita
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: St. Rita may have the state’s toughest schedule the next three weeks. Bishop McNamara leads the Catholic League White. Its only loss this season was to Brother Rice. After Bishop McNamara, St. Rita closes out the regular season with Mount Carmel and Loyola. The Mustangs haven’t allowed more than 17 points to an in-state opponent.
St. Rita player to watch: Zach Soria led the Mustangs’ rushing attack in last week’s win over Hales.
Bishop McNamara player to watch: Quarterback Channing Dolliger has come through with some key throws this season.
Prediction: St. Rita 31, Bishop McNamara 13

No. 6 Mount Carmel (5-1) at St. Laurence (2-4)

St. Laurence Mount Carmel
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Mount Carmel will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season. The Caravan’s offense was contained in last week’s 12-7 loss to Loyola. Quarterback Don Butkus and company will look to get it going again against St. Laurence, which lost 49-31 to Providence earlier in the season.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Brandon Greer is a major player on both sides of the ball.
St. Laurence player to watch: Andrew Javorka caught two touchdown passes in last week’s loss to Bishop McNamara.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 49, St. Laurence 10

Proviso East (1-5) at No. 7 Downers Grove South (6-0)

Downers Grove South Proviso East
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South’s last true test of the regular season may be Addison Trail in Week 9. Until then, the Mustangs should have no trouble the next few weeks. Downers Grove South has outscored its opponents 234-34 this season. Proviso East lost to Addison Trail 35-0 last week.
Proviso East player to watch: Quarterback Malcolm Hilliard has produced for the Pirates this season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Wide receiver Kaylon Miler is one of the Mustangs’ many offensive stars.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 49, Proviso East 7

No. 8 Prairie Ridge (6-0) at No. 19 Jacobs (6-0)

Proviso East Proviso East
When: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: This could be the game of the week or another Prairie Ridge rout. On paper, Jacobs should give Prairie Ridge a game, but no one has been able to do that so far. Even last week, the Wolves scored 41 points on a tough Crystal Lake South defense. Jacobs has been able to score on everyone this season. The Golden Eagles are averaging 38 points a game.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Collin Corcoran had three tackles for a loss in last week’s win over Crystal Lake South.
Jacobs player to watch: Caz Zyks not only has a cool name, but he leads Jacobs’ rushing attack.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 35, Jacobs 27

No. 9 Lake Zurich (5-1) at Stevenson (4-2)

Stevenson Lake Zurich
When:Thursday at 7 p.m.
The story: These two teams created one of the best games of last season. Stevenson scored in the final seconds to pull out a 24-23 upset of Lake Zurich. Lake Zurich will be favored again this season. The Bears have been dominant on the both sides of the ball since losing to Cary-Grove in Week 2. Stevenson suffered its second loss of the season last week. It lost to Lake Forest 10-7. The Patriots’ offense will need to step up this week.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Mike Shield has been key on both sides of the ball for the Bears.
Stevenson player to watch: Quarterback/kicker Matt Micucci has scored points in a variety of ways this season.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 24, Stevenson 20

No. 10 Bolingbrook (5-1) at Sandburg (5-1)

Sandburg Bolingbrook
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lincoln-Way East likely has the conference crown wrapped up now, but second place still is available. Bolingbrook and Sandburg each enter this game with one conference loss. Both teams lost to Lincoln-Way East. Bolingbrook will be favored in this one. The Raiders were up 14-0 against Lincoln-Way East before surrendering 20 consecutive points. Sandburg lost 31-7 to Lincoln-Way East.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey is a threat to run for a touchdown on every snap.
Sandburg player to watch: Quarterback Anthony Adams completed 4-of-6 passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Prediction: Bolingbrook 35, Sandburg 13

No. 11 Crete-Monee (6-0) at Rich Central (3-3)

Rich Central Crete-Monee
When:Friday at 6 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee had a battle on its hands for a bit in last week’s win over Bloom. Ultimately, it won 32-7. The Warriors should have an easier time this week. Rich Central hasn’t beat a team with a winning record this season.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Marcus Terrell has been one of the area’s premier quarterbacks this season.
Rich Central player to watch: Wide receiver Brandon Fowler caught six passes for 103 yards last week.
Prediction: Crete-Monee 49, Rich Central 10

St. Viator (1-5) at No. 12 Carmel (4-2)

Carmel St. Viator
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Carmel is back in the East Suburban Catholic race with Joliet Catholic’s loss. The Corsairs do still have to face Marist, but otherwise shouldn’t be tested. St. Viator has allowed 50-plus points in four games this season. Carmel’s high-powered offense will be another challenge for it.
St. Viator player to watch: Quarterback Mickey Macius has the potential to be one of the area’s best next season.
Carmel player to watch: Quarterback Brian Brennan was impressive running and throwing the ball last week.
Prediction: Carmel 49, St. Viator 17

Hillcrest (0-6) at No. 13 Lemont (6-0)

Lemont Hillcrest
When:Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: Lemont’s defense continues to be one of the best in the state. The Indians shut out their fourth opponent last week. They’ve allowed 26 points in six games. They should have a good shot at another shutout this week. Hillcrest is winless and is averaging just over 10 points a game.
Hillcrest player to watch: Devonte Brewer will look to give the Hawks an offensive spark.
Lemont player to watch: Mike Anzalone rushed for 183 yards on 24 carries in last week’s win.
Prediction: Lemont 35, Hillcrest 0

Elgin (1-5) at No. 14 Batavia (6-0)

Batavia Elgin
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Batavia should win the Upstate Eight River after defeating Geneva last week. The Bulldogs’ remaining games shouldn’t be too difficult. This week’s opponent Elgin has lost its last five games. Batavia quarterback Noel Gaspari’s shoulder injury wasn’t as bad as it appeared last week. He’s expected to play this week.
Elgin player to watch: Running back/defensive back Dennis Moore has scored nearly every way possible this season.
Batavia player to watch: Dom Guzaldo came through last week with 92 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Prediction: Batavia 45, Elgin 10

Notre Dame (3-3) at No. 15 Nazareth (5-1)

Nazareth Notre Dame
When:Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Nazareth shocked the area with a win over Joliet Catholic last week. The Roadrunners have put themselves in position to make a run at the conference title. Their toughest games are likely behind them. Notre Dame has been good and bad this season. The Dons lost their first three games, but have won their last three.
Notre Dame player to watch: Nick Pieruccini ran for a touchdown and threw for one in last week’s 14-0 win over Benet.
Nazareth player to watch: Joshua Moore rushed for 176 yards and one touchdown on 37 carries in last week’s win.
Prediction: Nazareth 31, Notre Dame 14

Marian Catholic (3-3) at No. 16 Joliet Catholic (5-1)

Joliet Catholic Marian Catholic
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic’s offense looked invincible until last week’s loss to Nazareth. With the loss, the Hilltoppers dropped into a four-way tie for first place in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Their offense will certainly be motivated to pick it back up this week against Marian Catholic. The Spartans lost to Marist 52-27 last week.
Marian Catholic player to watch: Running back Jeruel Taylor has more than 1,000 yards on the season.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Running back Ty Isaac is in the mix for the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 49, Marian Catholic 31

Streamwood (5-1) at No. 17 Geneva (5-1)

Geneva Streamwood
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Geneva and Streamwood suffered their first losses of the season last week. Geneva lost to Batavia, and Streamwood fell to St. Charles East. Geneva had its chances against Batavia, but its defense couldn’t contain the Bulldogs in the end. Streamwood’s defense had its own troubles in its 49-34 loss. St. Charles East had been winless.
Streamwood player to watch: Dalton Lundee threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns last week.
Geneva player to watch: Parker Woodworth rushed for more 100-plus yards again in last week’s loss.
Prediction: Geneva 42, Streamwood 20

No. 18 Antioch (6-0) at Round Lake (1-5)

Round Lake Antioch
When:Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Antioch is getting closer and closer to an undefeated regular season. The Sequoits’ only challenge is likely next week’s opponent Grant and should be able to take care of business the other two weeks. They were sharp in last week’s victory over Lakes. Round Lake has been out-scored 206-86 this season.
Antioch player to watch: Danny Arden was unstoppable last week. He rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns.
Round Lake player to watch: Daniel Vega has been one of the team’s main offensive weapons.
Prediction: Antioch 42, Round Lake 7

Naperville Central (4-2) at No. 20 Wheaton North (5-1)

Wheaton North Naperville Central
When:Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: The DuPage Valley race is heating up. Wheaton North took sole possession of first place with Glenbard North’s loss to Naperville Central last week. Wheaton North is 4-0 in conference, but four teams trail by just one game. Naperville Central pulled off a major upset last week and will be looking to carry that momentum into this week. Its defense has been its strength this season. Wheaton North has been averaging 32.7 points a game.
Naperville Central player to watch: Senior linebacker John Dulleck is one of the defense’s key pieces.
Wheaton North player to watch: Quarterback John Peltz has had the Falcons’ offense rolling this season.
Prediction: Wheaton North 24, Naperville Central 17

Week 6 football preview

September, 28, 2011
9/28/11
10:39
PM CT
Here's a look at the sixth week of action in ESPNChicago.com's top 20.

No. 1 Maine South (5-0) at Niles West (2-3)

Niles West Maine South
When: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Maine South showed it wasn’t invincible last week by trailing New Trier until the second half. The Trevians’ offense got going in the final two quarters and kept their 10-year conference winning streak alive. Maine South will be looking to end this week’s game early. Niles West has lost its last two games.
Maine South player to watch:Linebacker Luke Lenti has been a key defensive player this season.
Niles West player to watch:Wide receiver Jeremiah Jordan can be a threat.
Prediction:Maine South 49, Niles West 7

Proviso West (3-2) at No. 2 Glenbard West (5-0)

Glenbard West Proviso WestWhen: Saturday at 1 p.m.
The story: Glenbard West looks more impressive every week. The Panthers have out-scored their opponents 187-30 this season. Quarterback Justice Odom has continued to improve for the Hilltoppers. Proviso West lost to York 31-8 last week. The Panthers weren’t able to score many points in their two losses.
Proviso West player to watch: Running back Jamaal Payton scored his team’s lone touchdown last week.
Glenbard West player to watch: Tight end Nathan Marcus had two touchdowns in last week’s win.
Prediction: Glenbard West 42, Proviso West 10

No. 3 Lincoln-Way East (5-0) at No. 12 Bolingbrook (5-0)

Bolingbrook Lincoln-Way EastWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: All eyes will be on this game on Friday. Both teams have shown few flaws this season, and both took care of Homewood-Flossmoor to set up this undefeated matchup. The game will have plenty of star power. Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey and Lincoln-Way East quarterback Blake Winkler are two of the area’s best. Lincoln-Way East wide receiver Jason Robertson is headed to Illinois, and Bolingbrook linebacker Antonio Morrison is committed to Florida. This game may come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Justin Corbett is one of the Griffins’ many receiving targets.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Omar Stover rushed for 118 yards in last week’s win over Homewood-Flossmoor.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 45, Bolingbrook 42

No. 4 Mount Carmel (5-0) at No. 6 Loyola (5-0)

Loyola Mount CarmelWhen: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
The story: Loyola, Mount Carmel and St. Rita are all in position to make a run for the Catholic League Blue title again. They shared it last season with one loss each. One of the reasons that happened was Mount Carmel defeated Loyola 31-24 in overtime at Gately Stadium. Now, they meet again at Loyola. Both teams have played well on both sides of the ball. Mount Carmel looks to keep the ball on the ground, and Loyola looks to pass it.
Mount Carmel player to watch: This is one of the biggest games of junior quarterback Don Butkus’ young varsity career.
Loyola player to watch: Wide receiver Charlie Dowdle had two touchdowns in last year’s meeting.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 31, Loyola 28

Nazareth (4-1) at No. 5 Joliet Catholic (5-0)

Joliet Catholic NazarethWhen: Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Joliet Catholic hasn’t been challenged since Week 1, and this could be its toughest game since then. The Hilltoppers are the lone remaining undefeated team in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. Nazareth is 4-1 in conference with its lone loss to Carmel. Nazareth’s defense will have to find a way to stop Joliet Catholic’s run game. Nazareth has scored 30 or more points in its last three games.
Nazareth player to watch: Rudy Romagnano is capable of breaking a run any time he touches the ball.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Quarterback Craig Slowik has thrown the ball well when needed to this season.
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 42, Nazareth 17

No. 7 St. Rita (4-1) at Hales (3-2)

Hales St. RitaWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: St. Rita gets a break from the Catholic League Blue for the next two weeks. If everything goes according to plan, the Mustangs should be 6-1 headed into their final games against Loyola and Mount Carmel. St. Rita’s defense was stellar again in last week’s 19-0 win over Providence. Hales has scored 44 points in each of its past two games. The problem has been containing opponents. Hales allowed 80 total points in those same games.
St. Rita player to watch: Ryan Leonard and Max Kurucar each returned interceptions for touchdowns last week.
Hales player to watch: Joe Morrow is Hales’ primary offensive weapon.
Prediction: St. Rita 42, Hales 14

No. 8 Downers Grove South (5-0) at Willowbrook (0-5)

Willowbrook Downers Grove SouthWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Downers Grove South’s win over rival Downers Grove North wasn’t as pretty as it would have liked. A fumble at the goal line and a couple late touchdowns ruined Downers Grove South’s day. The Mustangs look for a cleaner game against winless Willowbrook. The Warriors have allowed 221 points this season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Scott Daly is committed to Notre Dame as a long snapper, but he also plays tight end for the Mustangs.
Willowbrook player to watch: Dom Battaglia has been Willowbrook’s main offensive threat. He’s scored in most games this season.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 49, Willowbrook 7

No. 9 Glenbard North (5-0) at Naperville Central (3-2)

Naperville Central Glenbard NorthWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Glenbard North’s schedule isn’t easy the rest of the way. Naperville Central could easily be 4-1 if it weren’t for last week’s narrow 14-7 loss to Wheaton Warrenville South. Naperville Central’s offense has struggled in its two losses. Glenbard North’s defense is among the area’s best. The Panthers have shut out three opponents this season.
Glenbard North player to watch: Collin Hansen returned an interception for a touchdown in last week’s win.
Naperville Central player to watch: Running back Matt Randolph looks to bounce back from last week’s 60-yard game. He has rushed for 762 yards this season.
Prediction: Glenbard North 28, Naperville Central 14

No. 10 Prairie Ridge (5-0) at No. 16 Crystal Lake South (5-0)

Crystal Lake South Prairie RidgeWhen: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: No one has been able to stop Prairie Ridge yet. The Wolves have out-scored their opponents 224-14 this season. This will be their greatest test to date. Crystal Lake South’s defense is also among the area’s best. The Gators have allowed 31 points this season, and no one has scored more than 12 points in a game. Something will have to give in this one.
Prairie Ridge player to watch: Running back Connor Greenwald is normally good for at least a touchdown a game.
Crystal Lake South player to watch: Brad Walovitch is one of the state’s most versatile players. For the Gators to have a chance, he’ll need to come through in some way.
Prediction: Prairie Ridge 21, Crystal Lake South 14

No. 11 Lake Zurich (4-1) at Libertyville (3-2)

Lake Zurich LibertyvilleWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Lake Zurich’s schedule picks up from here. If the Bears are going to win the conference, the next three weeks will decide that with games against Libertyville, Stevenson and Lake Forest. Lake Zurich has looked good on both sides of the ball the last few weeks. Libertyville lost to Stevenson 13-0 last week. It was the second time this year the Wildcats had been shutout. Their offense will have to step up against Lake Zurich, which hasn’t allowed more than 14 points this season.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Jack Lynn may be going to Minnesota to be a linebacker, but he can catch the ball, too. He had four receptions for 106 yards last week.
Libertyville player to watch: Wide receiver Austin Williams is a consistent target for the team’s quarterbacks.
Prediction: Lake Zurich 24, Libertyville 10

No. 13 Carmel (3-2) at St. Patrick (3-2)

St. Patrick Carmel When: Friday at 8 p.m.
The story: Carmel is coming off a loss to a top team from Minnesota. The Corsairs are still in the East Suburban Catholic race with one loss. They’ll need Joliet Catholic to eventually lose, but they can only control themselves right now. They could be in for an offensive shootout against St. Patrick. The Shamrocks have put up 30-plus points in four of their five games. They’ve lost the last two weeks by a combined 10 points.
Carmel player to watch: Tyler Lees is one of the area’s top linebackers.
St. Patrick player to watch: Guy DiBalsamo is a threat rushing or catching the ball for the Shamrocks.
Prediction: Carmel 45, St. Patrick 31

No. 18 Batavia (5-0) at No. 14 Geneva (5-0)

Geneva BataviaWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Week 6 is definitely not short of marquee matchups. This should be another good one. Geneva had a couple close calls early, but has taken care of business the past few weeks with lopsided wins. Batavia hasn’t had a close game yet this season -- its smallest margin of victory has been 22 points. No opponent has scored more than 13 points against it. This game could very well decide the conference title.
Batavia player to watch: Quarterback Noel Gaspari threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win.
Geneva player to watch: Senior Matt Williams is one of the area’s best quarterbacks.
Prediction: Geneva 27, Batavia 21

Bloom (1-4) at No. 15 Crete-Monee (5-0)

Crete-Monee Bloom When: Friday at 6 p.m.
The story: Crete-Monee hasn’t been troubled yet this season, and that will likely be the case again this week. The Warriors have been steamrolling teams through five weeks. Their offense and defense have been dominant. Bloom has been in some tight games this season, including last week’s 6-2 loss to Rich South, but will have to play at a whole other level to compete with Crete-Monee.
Bloom player to watch: Wide receiver Jason Mendez can make plays.
Crete-Monee player to watch: Linebacker John Fasel recovered two fumbles in last week’s win over Kankakee.
Prediction: Crete-Monee 42, Bloom 7

No. 17 Lemont (5-0) at Bremen (5-0)

Bremen LemontWhen: Friday at 7 p.m.
The story: This game will likely decide the South Suburban Blue. Both teams enter undefeated. Lemont has been more impressive in its wins, but Bremen can’t be overlooked. Bremen hasn’t allowed an opponent more than 13 points this season, and its offense is led by all-area candidate running back David Smith. Lemont was challenged last week by previously-undefeated Tinley Park, but prevailed 49-20. It was the most points the Indians’ defense had given up this season.
Lemont player to watch: Quarterback Damon Aleman was 7-of-10 for 150 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s win.
Bremen player to watch: Davis Smith is one of the area’s top running backs. He has a several Division I schools after him.
Prediction: Lemont 24, Bremen 13

Jacobs (5-0) at Huntley (1-4)

Huntley JacobsWhen: Friday at 7:15 p.m.
The story: Jacobs proved it was legit with last week’s win over Cary-Grove. It will have a chance to further show that with upcoming games against Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge. For now, it should be able to remain undefeated for one more week as its travel to Huntley. Jacobs coach Bill Mitz has quickly turned the program around in two years. Huntley dropped its first four games and defeated Dundee-Crown last week.
Jacobs player to watch: Quarterback Jason Judson has the Golden Eagles’ offense averaging more than 30 points a game. He’s had a long touchdown pass in almost every game.
Huntley player to watch: Junior Ethan Connor rushed for four touchdown in last week’s win.
Prediction: Jacobs 38, Huntley 10

No. 20 Antioch (5-0) at Lakes (4-1)

Lakes AntiochWhen: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The story: Antioch hasn’t been the most dominating undefeated team in the area, but the Sequoits have found a way to get it done every week. They haven’t scored more than 28 points in a game, but they haven’t allowed more than 12 points. They’ve also prevailed in tight games with a two-point win over Lake Forest Academy and a three-point victory over Vernon Hills. Lakes could present a similar type of game. Lakes has a loss to Lake Zurich, but is undefeated in the North Suburban Prairie. The winner of this game will likely win the division.
Antioch player to watch: Danny Arden has rushed for 100-plus yards in every game this season. He had 121 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Wauconda.
Lakes player to watch: Andrew Spencer returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown, which proved the difference in Lakes’ 7-6 win over Vernon Hills.
Prediction: Antioch 23, Lakes 14

Coaches rountable: Which rule to change

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
11:39
PM CT

Each week we’ll be presenting a unique question to all of the coaches in ESPNChicago.com’s top 20 poll. It’s a new feature we’re calling Coaches Roundtable.

This week’s question: What one IHSA rule would you like changed?

Loyola’s John Holecek: The first three practice days of fall camp being non-padded; it’s completely without merit because summer practices can be whatever a coach chooses. It should be changed to no contact all summer when there are less medical personnel and incomplete supervision at schools.

Batavia’s Dennis Piron: The kids on the team said "touchdown celebrations"! I think that the rules are fine the way they are.

Geneva’s Rob Wicinski: Offensive pass interference – why is this a bigger ‘punch in the gut’ than a personal foul? Fifteen-yard penalty and loss of down and enforced at the line of scrimmage? C’mon.

Crystal Lake South’s Chuck Ahsmann: I would like to see the IHSA do a true seed for the state series. I do not like that we seem to play the same teams from our regular season in the playoffs because of proximity.

Glenbard West’s Chad Hetlet: Playoff seeding should be 1-32 regardless of travel to be fair to those that earn high seeds.

Crete-Monee’s Jerry Verde: The seeding of the playoffs. Just seed 1-32, no North and South and no quadrants. The current system penalizes the Chicagoland area.

Maine South’s David Inserra: Onside kicks. We put all 10 guys on one side of the ball and ‘get 'em’ because it is legal. I proposed several years back that we should adapt the pro or college rule of only five guys on one side for safety reasons.

Lemont’s Eric Michaelsen: I am okay with the IHSA. Maybe having to go three days in August with no pads after the 25 days in the summer.
Bolingbrook’s John Ivlow: Playoff system. I would like to see a seeding system.

St. Rita’s Todd Kuska: The IHSA needs to abolish the regional quadrants. The playoffs should be seeded like they were in the old days -- based on wins and not geography. Some of the best experiences in the playoffs comes from playing teams that you have never played before -- getting on the road and traveling is a great experience. We are depriving our student-athletes of this experience. As a coach, I also enjoyed scouting teams from all across the state and matching up with teams that we had never played before.

Lake Zurich’s Bryan Stortz: I would like to see the playoffs seeded 1-32 and not by region or traveling distance. The reason would be that you may have the true No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the same quadrant.

Prairie Ridge’s Chris Schremp: I wish the IHSA would have more control over club and travel sports. I would like to see more kids playing two and three sports. I feel too many club and travel coaches are influencing kids into specializing in one sport.

Lake Zurich's Lynn commits to Gophers

July, 22, 2011
7/22/11
4:11
PM CT
Lake Zurich senior linebacker Jack Lynn has committed to Minnesota.

Lynn, who is 6-3, 205 pounds, chose the Gophers over Michigan State.

"The regime interested me," Lynn said. "Coach [Jerry] Kill going up and turning programs around, I wanted to be a part of it."

Lynn recorded 61 tackles and four sacks last season while helping Lake Zurich to a state runner-up finish in Class 7A. The Bears were among the best defenses in the state.

"His God-given ability is he has length," Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said. "He has long arms and height. What he does work ethic-wise is he goes full speed all the time. He doesn't take a play off in practice. He's explosive. He moves well in space. He has good closing speed."

Minnesota has 17 Class of 2012 commitments.

7A recap: Lake Zurich 17, Simeon 14

November, 14, 2010
11/14/10
12:22
AM CT
CHICAGO, Ill. -- All week long, the talk surrounding Saturday’s Class 7A quarterfinal matchup between Lake Zurich and Simeon was whether the Bears could slow down the Wolverines' high-octane offense. After all, Simeon entered the game averaging 51.3 points per game and had not scored less than 42 in a game all season.

But the Lake Zurich defense answered the call and, coupled with a power running game, led the Bears to a 17-14 upset victory over top-seeded Simeon (11-1) at Gately Stadium.

“We’re really peaking right now,” Lake Zurich senior linebacker J.J. Raffelson said.

While the Bears' defense did their job above and beyond, Simeon struggled to stop the Lake Zurich offense. The Bears' three-headed attack, featuring Jacob Brinlee, John Mularz and Tim Sayre, rushed for over 250 yards and kept the Wolverines' offense on the sidelines for much of the game.

“We came in trying to bound the ball in order to keep their offense off the field as much as possible,” Mularz said.

Lake Zurich kicker Scott Walding converted a 24-yard field goal on the final play of the third quarter to give his team a 17-0 lead.

Simeon finally found some offense as Robert Gregory connected on touchdowns of 30 and 33 yards to receiver Darius Scott within a matter of minutes. Gregory, who finished the game with 131 passing yards, did not have a chance to complete the comeback as the Bears converted on two third downs in the final three minutes to run out the clock.

Lake Zurich (11-1) advances to the Class 7A semifinals for the second straight season, and for seniors like Raffelson, this is their final opportunity to reach the same heights they saw the varsity Bears reach when they were freshman.

“We really admire all the guys that won the state title game,” Raffelson said of the 2006 Lake Zurich team that won the state title. “This is our goal, to make it state and win state.”

Lake Zurich will play either Carmel or St. Rita for the chance to head down state.

Player of the game: Mularz with 110 yards rushing

Stat of the game: 38 -- Yards Simeon gained in the first half

It was over when: Mularz converted a third down with 1:45 left in the game

Quote of the night: “The game plan was the run down the clock as much as possible and keep their offense off the field.” -- Mularz

Week 5 Notebook: Vernon Hills' D still perfect

September, 27, 2010
9/27/10
10:25
PM CT
Here are the best of the best from Week 5.

Powers' playmakers:

1) Glenbard North's Phil Jackson ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns and turned a screen pass into a 61-yard touchdown in the Panthers' win over West Chicago.

2) Simeon running back Horactio Banks rushed for 282 yards and three touchdowns in the Wolverines' win on Thursday.

3) Illinois recruit Josh Ferguson ran for 243 yards and four touchdowns in Joliet Catholic's 57-0 win over Nazareth.

4) Lake Zurich running back Jacob Brinlee ran for 274 yards and three touchdown in one half, and he added seven more yards in the second half to rush for a school-record 281 yards in the Bears' win over Libertyville.

5) Barrington running back Chase Murdock ran for a season-high 218 yards and three touchdowns in the Broncos' win over Conant. Murdock has six touchdowns in his last two games.

Defensive delights:

1) Vernon Hills' defense shut out its fifth consecutive opponent with Friday's 34-0 win over Antioch. The Cougars have out-scored their opponents 240-0 this season.

2) Stevenson's Carl Miller intercepted two passes, and Michael Kuhn had two sacks in the Patriots' win over Lake Forest.

3) South Elgin's Andrew York sacked Neuqua Valley's quarterback three times in the Storm's 21-14 win. The defense had five sacks all together.

4) Marmion's Mike Currie intercepted two passes in his team's win over Guerin. Marmion had five interceptions in total.

5) Schaumburg senior safety Bob Quilico made 11 tackles and caught a touchdown pass in the Saxons' 17-14 win over Fremd.

Five-star football:

1) Carmel 20, Marist 16: The Corsairs drove 99 yards in 18 plays to score the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to defeat Marist in the East Suburban Catholic match-up.

2) Schaumburg 17, Fremd 14: The Saxons rallied from a 7-3 deficit and held off Fremd in the end for the Mid-Suburban League West victory.

3) Aurora Christian 29, St. Edward 22: Aurora Christian's Anthony Maddie threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns on offense and broke up two passes in the final four minutes on defense to help in the win.

4) Lyons 14, Oak Park 9: Lyons remained undefeated when quarterback Brian Kelly hooked up with Dylan Fiedler for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 3:30 left in the game.

5) Marian Catholic 21, Notre Dame 20 OT: Marian Catholic's Jason Martinez blocked Notre Dame's extra-point attempt in overtime for the East Suburban Catholic victory.

Recap: Lake Zurich 20, Fremd 10

August, 28, 2010
8/28/10
5:20
AM CT
LAKE ZURICH, Ill. --"Strictly Business." Not only was it the theme of the Lake Zurich student section tonight at Mel Eide Field, but it proved to be the Bears' winning mentality, as Lake Zurich scored all of its points in the final seven minutes to defeat the visiting Fremd Vikings 20-10.

[+] EnlargeLake Zurich
Sulaiman RoyLake Zurich and Zach Till uesd a late rally to get past Fremd.
After trailing 3-0 at halftime, and 10-0 with only 7:46 remaining, Senior quarterback, Zach Till, led the Lake Zurich comeback on the ground, as well as through the air. After Fremd increased its lead on a Justin Wallace 3-yard touchdown run, Till began the ensuing drive by connecting on a 34-yard strike to tight-end, Mitch Dudek. Less than thirty-seconds later, Junior Mike Shield put the Bears on the board, bursting through the line on a third and goal effort from the Vikings'three-yard line. Fremd responded with a four and a half minute, 10-play drive that reached the Bears' 27-yard line, but Quarterback Rich Concialdi's fourth down pass fell short, giving the Bears the ball with more than enough time to work.

Lake Zurich then needed just 8 plays over 85 seconds to take the lead, as Till found pay-dirt on a 4-yard option keeper with a minute showing on the clock. The Bears missed the extra point, but any hope of a Fremd tie or win was squashed when linebacker Tim Sayre picked off Concialdi and ran the interception back 24-yards for the final touchdown. As the Dark Side cleared the visiting bleachers, the Strictly Business-clad students of Lake Zurich celebrated their series-tying win over the Vikings, and a successful start to the 2010 campaign. Next week both teams are on the road as Fremd travels to Prospect and Lake Zurich plays at Cary-Grove.

Player of the game: Lake Zurich Sr. Quarterback Zach Till, whose 4-yard touchdown run with 1:00 to go put the Bears on top.

Stat of the game:Till only carried the ball four times for 23 yards; Lake Zurich running back Jacob Brinlee totaled 135-yards on the ground. For Fremd, Concialdi completed 19 of 30 passes for 263-yards and an interception. Justin Wallace ran for 116-yards and a touchdown.

It was over when:Tim Sayre picked off a Concialdi pass for a 24-yard pick-six with 43-seconds left on the clock.

Quote of the night: "Our kids, as frustrating as it was, just never gave up, so they kept fighting and kept fighting, and all it was, was one or two big plays to get us the confidence I think that we needed to get things rolling and have momentum swing our way." - Lake Zurich Head Coach Bryan Stortz.

Prep football Week 1 preview capsules

August, 26, 2010
8/26/10
10:43
PM CT

No. 15 Montini (0-0) at No. 5 Joliet Catholic (0-0) on Friday
The story: This is the perfect game to open the 2010 high school football season. These two teams met in the Class 5A state championship in November with Montini edging the Hilltoppers 29-28 with a touchdown and two-point conversion with 32 seconds remaining. Joliet Catholic would like to redeem itself with a win here, but Montini is also out to prove last year’s victory wasn’t a fluke. Both teams will be starting a new quarterback.
Montini player to watch: Senior Matt Westerkamp takes over at quarterback for the Broncos. He doesn’t have the arm of last year’s quarterback Brandon Pechloff, but he does have size at 6-2, some speed and knows the offense.
Joliet Catholic player to watch: Junior running back Malin Jones torched Montini for 141 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s state championship game. He and fellow running back Josh Ferguson will be the keys to this game again.
Quote: “According to everyone, we are the underdogs again,” Montini coach Chris Andriano said. “We don’t care. We’ll line up and play. We’ll line up and play anytime, anywhere. We’ll line up in the parking lot if you want.”
Prediction: Joliet Catholic 40, Montini 35

No. 6 Fremd (0-0) at No. 9 Lake Zurich (0-0) on Friday
The story: Fremd and Lake Zurich played in one of the more dramatic season-opening games last season with Fremd pulling out a 10-7 win at home. The Bears will now get a chance to avenge that result at their place. Both teams lost a couple key pieces from last year, but they also return a couple key ones. Both teams should be in contention for a state title this season.
Fremd player to watch: Senior Justin Wallace came up big in last year’s win over Lake Zurich with a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery. Wallace will be a key defensive player again this season, but will also be one of the main running backs.
Lake Zurich player to watch: Running back Jacob Brinlee is one of the state’s most electrifying players. He has the speed and vision to pop a long one at any time. He had a 73-yarder last season against Fremd.
Quote: “We need to win the turnover battle, win in the special teams’ phases of the game and negate their size with our speed,” Lake Zurich coach Bryan Stortz said. “They’re fundamentally sound and well coached.
Prediction: Fremd 14, Lake Zurich 13

No. 2 Wheaton Warrenville South (0-0) at No. 19 Hinsdale Central (0-0) on Friday
The story: Wheaton Warrenville South began its state championship run with a season-opening 34-26 win over Hinsdale Central last season. Wheaton Warrenville South returns a bulk of its team from last season and is the favorite to repeat in Class 7A. The Red Devils have some returnees, especially on the offensive line, but they did graduate all-state quarterback John Whitelaw. Hinsdale Central plans on using a platoon system at quarterback for now. Hinsdale Central could have a chance at home, but it needs to limit its errors.
Wheaton Warrenville South player to watch: All eyes will be on Illini recruit quarterback Reilly O’Toole. Everything points to him having a monstrous season for the Tigers.
Hinsdale Central player to watch: Center Jack Allen is one of the premier offensive linemen in the state. He’s big, but he’s also quick. He recently committed to Michigan State.
Quote: “Wheaton Warrenville South does everything well,” Hinsdale Central coach Mike DiMatteo said. “They are not the great program they are for no reason. … We need to keep O’Toole in check as much as we can. He’s the best QB in the state this year, and we will have our hands full.”
Prediction: Wheaton Warrenville South 35, Hinsdale Central 20

Bolingbrook (0-0) at No. 14 Downers Grove South (0-0) on Friday
The story: This has turned into one of the more exciting non-conference rivalries. Last year, Bolingbrook blocked a late field goal attempt to beat the Mustangs in the season opener. Downers Grove South got its revenge during the playoffs by knocking Bolingbrook out with a late comeback win. This is the last scheduled meeting for the teams, but they could of course meet in the playoffs again this year and in the future.
Bolingbrook player to watch: Linebacker Antonio Morrison is one of the key defensive players the Raiders will be looking to this season.
Downers Grove South player to watch: Wide receiver Ryan Oruche can beat a team in a variety of ways. He can run, catch and even pass if needed. Bolingbrook’s defense will have its hands full with him.
Prediction: Downers Grove South 28, Bolingbrook 17

No. 1 Maine South (0-0) at Schaumburg (0-0) on Friday
The story: Maine South is the team everyone is shooting for again. The Hawks are riding a 28-game winning streak into the season. They’re not as offensively powered as the past few years, but their defense should be among the state’s best. Schaumburg just missed the top 20. The Saxons have a lot of offense back, especially quarterback Mark Iannotti and running back Shepard Little.
Maine South players to watch: No decision was made on Maine South’s quarterback, so sophomore Matt Alviti and junior Jimmy Frankos will both play against Schaumburg. Both have shown promise throughout the offseason.
Schaumburg player to watch: Shepard Little rushed for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2008. He sat out last season due a disciplinary issue and is back again. If he can return to form, the Saxons will be a team to watch this season.
Quote: “They are obviously talented and play extremely hard,” Schaumburg coach Mark Stilling said. “Our kids need to stay focused on doing their jobs and resist the temptation to try anything special.”
Prediction: Maine South 31, Schaumburg 21

Glenbrook South (0-0) at No. 18 Minooka (0-0) on Friday
The story: Minooka is out to prove it belongs with the elite teams this season. Glenbrook South is out to show that it can reload after losing a number of stars from last season’s quarterfinal team. After this game, we should know a little more about both teams. Minooka will look to control the ball. It will be important for Glenbrook South to stay away from turnovers. The Titans will be missing four players to injury and another due to suspension.
Glenbrook South player to watch: John Strickland steps into the spotlight for the Titans. He’s moved from linebacker to fullback and will likely see a bulk of the carries.
Minooka player to watch: Zach Colvin, a Division I recruit, will be playing both ways to start the season. He’s a dominant a defensive end, but it may slow him down having to be on offense as well.
Quote: “Week 1 is always tough,” Minooka coach Bert Kooi said. “No matter how much time you have spent with your team, you never really completely know what to expect until you see them in a game situation.”
Prediction: Minooka 20, Glenbrook South 14

No. 20 Oak Park at Glenbard North on Friday
The story: Oak Park is one of the sleeper picks for the 2010 season. The Huskies are coming off a 5-5 season and have a bulk of their team back. If they’re going to take another step this season, this game would be a good start. Glenbard North beat them 33-21 last season. The Panthers lost some talent from last year’s 11-2 team, but they’re still among the area’s best.
Oak Park player to watch: Running back Tony Stapleton rushed for 1,300 yards as a junior. He has a number of Division I schools looking at him.
Glenbard North player to watch: Running back/linebacker Evan Natick battled through injuries last season. Now healthy, he should make an impact on both sides of the ball.
Quote: “We need to be able to run the football and stop the run,” Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. “They run the ball well.”
Prediction: Oak Park 21, Glenbard North 20

Edwardsville (0-0) vs. No. 7 Lincoln-Way East (0-0) at Illinois State on Saturday
The story: Lincoln-Way East opens its season with a non-area opponent. Edwardsville is expected to be one of the top St. Louis-area teams this season. It went 6-4 last year and returns Rodney Coe, one of the state’s top athletes. Lincoln-Way East is familiar with teams from that area. The Griffins defeated Belleville West in the opening round of the playoffs and then were upset by O’Fallon in the second round. Lincoln-Way East’s defense should be among the state’s best again this season.
Edwardsville player to watch: Running back Rodney Coe is being recruited by nearly every top program in the country. He will be a good first test for the Griffins’ defense.
Lincoln-Way East player to watch: Quarterback Blake Winkler makes his debut. Winkler has drawn comparisons to former Griffins quarterback Anthony Kropp, who led the team to a state championship in 2005.
Prediction: Lincoln-Way East 30, Edwardsville 21

No. 11 Mount Carmel vs. Simeon at Soldier Field on Sunday
The story: These Chicago south side foes met twice last season with Mount Carmel winning both games. The Caravan won the season opener 53-27, but their second meeting was closer with Mount Carmel winning 19-14. Mount Carmel had an up-and-down 2009 season and is looking to return to dominance this year. Simeon just missed out of the top-20 rankings and should be the class of the Public League this season.
Mount Carmel player to watch: Michael Banks has moved from wide receiver to running back. He has great speed and could flourish in the Caravan’s triple-option system.
Simeon player to watch: Chris Bryant is one of the state’s top offensive linemen. He’s also one of the biggest as he comes in at 6-5 and 330 pounds.
Prediction: Mount Carmel 28, Simeon 14

No. 8 Providence (0-0) vs. Morgan Park (0-0) at Soldier Field on Sunday
The story: Providence is coming off a dream season where nearly everything seemed to go the Celtics way. They return a strong offensive line and quality linebackers, but they need to replace stars Pete Houlihan and Tim Hanrahan. Morgan Park is coming off a 9-3 season. The Mustangs upset Brother Rice at Soldier Field last season.
Providence player to watch: Senior quarterback Joey Houlihan returns for the Celtics. He was key in Providence’s run to the Class 6A state championship game last season.
Morgan Park player to watch: Junior Deshaun Hurley takes over at quarterback for Morgan Park. He did get some experience there last season.
Prediction: Providence 34, Morgan Park 19

SPONSORED HEADLINES